We're working on a new version of PRX. Want a sneak peek?

BackStory with the American History Guys

GroupAccount image

BackStory is a weekly one-hour public radio show that provides a national broadcast audience with an enjoyable and accessible way of engaging challenging themes in American history and how they connect with today. The show is hosted by renowned historians Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. BackStory’s signature sound and spirit of inquiry emanates from the hearts and minds of its genial hosts, whose unscripted brilliance reflects a warmth and rapport that comes from their longtime friendship.

Please confirm carriage of BackStory with the American History Guys by contacting Andrew Parsons at (434) 982-2955 or andrewparsons@virginia.edu.

Moving from current headlines to drill down into U.S. history, each surprising BackStory episode features lively interviews with a diverse roster of scholars, experts, and ordinary citizens from around the country; listener calls; host discussions; and produced pieces. Topics are as diverse as college sports, reenactments, sugar, memorials, domestic terrorism, birthing, homeownership, the post office, philanthropy, protests, privacy, marriage, revivalism, and childhood—all in the context of American history.

Since BackStory first began as a monthly show in 2008, episodes have been broadcast by more than 130 primary stations in 39 states, 29 in the top 50 markets by population. Podcasts have been downloaded 1.4 million times.

BackStory is produced by VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional corporate, foundation, institutional, and individual support.

Please visit our station landing page for upcoming episodes, promotional photos, and other information.

 


Pieces

Caption: The Supreme Court of the United States, December 1864. A. Gardner, photographer. , Credit: Library of Congress
As of June 2016, the Republican controlled Senate is still refusing to consider President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Supreme Court nom...

  • Added: Jun 24, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: The Supreme Court of the United States, December 1864. A. Gardner, photographer. , Credit: Library of Congress
As of June 2016, the Republican controlled Senate is still refusing to consider President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Supreme Court nom...

  • Added: Jun 24, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: The Supreme Court of the United States, December 1864. A. Gardner, photographer. , Credit: Library of Congress.
30-second promo for "Partisan Robes" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jun 21, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Wedding Ceremony, 1908. , Credit: Library of Congress.
June remains the most popular month for weddings and this month, millions of Americans will become newlyweds. In this hour of BackStory, we look at...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm, WRGY, WRIR, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jun 17, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Wedding Ceremony, 1908., Credit:  Library of Congress
June remains the most popular month for weddings and this month, millions of Americans will become newlyweds. In this hour of BackStory, we look at...

  • Added: Jun 17, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Wedding Ceremony, 1908. , Credit: Library of Congress.
30-second promo for "Committed" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jun 14, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Alexander Hamilton engraved by Prud’homme from miniature by Arch. Robertson, 1835. , Credit: Library of Congress
Alexander Hamilton is living large these days! Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical about the Founding Father won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and scor...

  • Added: Jun 10, 2016
  • Length: 53:59
Caption: Alexander Hamilton engraved by Prud’homme from miniature by Arch. Robertson, 1835. , Credit: Library of Congress
Alexander Hamilton is living large these days! Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical about the Founding Father won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and scor...

Bought by WDET Detroit Public Radio, XRAY.fm, RadioFreePalmer, WRGY, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jun 10, 2016
  • Length: 53:59
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: Alexander Hamilton engraved by Prud’homme from miniature by Arch. Robertson, 1835., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Hamilton" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Jun 07, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: “The Lady Cop. She will never be a success on some “fixed posts.” in: Puck, 1885, Credit: Library of Congress
Donald Trump has clinched the Republican presidential nomination for the 2016 election. On issues including immigration, race, and terrorism, suppo...

  • Added: Jun 03, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: “The Lady Cop. She will never be a success on some “fixed posts.” in: Puck, 1885, Credit: Library of Congress
Donald Trump has clinched the Republican presidential nomination for the 2016 election. On issues including immigration, race, and terrorism, suppo...

Bought by WDET Detroit Public Radio, WYAP, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jun 03, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: “The Lady Cop. She will never be a success on some “fixed posts.” in: Puck, 1885 , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Politically Incorrect" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: May 31, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: A rabbit serves a meal to three kittens (Harry Whittier Frees, c1870)
This past March, Sea World announced it will stop breeding orca whales in captivity, and is phasing out its killer whale shows. Meanwhile, the elep...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WEZU, XRAY.fm, WRGY, WRIR and more


  • Added: May 27, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: A rabbit serves a meal to three kittens (Harry Whittier Frees, c1870)
This past March, Sea World announced it will stop breeding orca whales in captivity, and is phasing out its killer whale shows. Meanwhile, the elep...

  • Added: May 27, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: A rabbit serves a meal to three kittens (Harry Whittier Frees, c1870)
30-second promo for "The Beasts Within" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: May 24, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Detail from cocaine toothache drops advertisement, 1885., Credit: Library of Congress
To date, four states have legalized recreational marijuana, 23 states allow it for medical purposes and at least another five are expected to pass ...

  • Added: May 20, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Piece image
To date, four states have legalized recreational marijuana, 23 states allow it for medical purposes and at least another five are expected to pass ...

Bought by WCQS, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WEZU, XRAY.fm, RadioFreePalmer and more


  • Added: May 20, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Detail from cocaine toothache drops advertisement, 1885., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "All Hopped Up: Drugs in America [rebroadcast]" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: May 17, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Throne room, Iolani Palace, King & Richards Streets, Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI., Credit: Library of Congress
Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday this June and royal watchers around the globe will join the festivities. Despite the Founding Fathers ...

  • Added: May 13, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Throne room, Iolani Palace, King & Richards Streets, Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI., Credit: Library of Congress
Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday this June and royal watchers around the globe will join the festivities. Despite the Founding Fathers ...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRFA-LP, XRAY.fm, WRPI, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: May 13, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8